Of what did the duumvirate deliberate during their itinerary?
Music, literature, Ireland, Dublin, Paris, friendship, woman, prostitution, diet, the influence of gaslight or the light of arc and glow-lamps on the growth of paraheliotropic trees, exposed corporation emergency dustbuckets, the Roman catholic church, ecclesiastical celibacy, the Irish nation, jesuit education, careers, the study of medicine, the past day, the maleficient influence of the presabbath, Stephen’s collapse.
Ulysses (Ithica), James Joyce
"Should a girl tell? No, a thousand times no. That was their secret, only theirs, alone in the hiding twilight and there was none to know or tell save the little bat that flew so softly through the evening to and fro and little bats don’t tell."
Nausicaa: Ulysses, James Joyce.
"The summer evening had begun to fold the world in its myseterious embrace. Far away in the west the sun was setting and the last glow of all too fleeting day lingered lovingly on the sea and strand, on the proud promontory of dear old Howth guarding as ever the waters of the bay, on the weedgrown rocks along Sandymout shore, and, last but not least, on the quiet church whence there streamed forth at times upon the stillness the voice of prayer to her who is in her pure radiance a beacon ever to the storm-tossed heart of man, Mary, star of the sea."
Nausicaa: Ulysses, James Joyce.
"On his wise shoulders through the checkerwork of leaves the sun flung spangles, dancing coins."
Ulysses, James Joyce.
New post: Bloomsday Reading
and I have been chatting about an idea for a way to celebrate Bloomsday: Bloomsday, in case you weren’t aware, is on the 16th June (this year it falls on a Saturday) and it marks the day on which James Joyce’s Ulysses
is based. As a day of celebration, it began in 1954, the fifty year anniversary of the events in the novel, when John Ryan, Flann O’Brien, Patrick Kavanagh, Anthony Cronin, Tom Joyce (Joyce’s cousin) and AJ Leventhal attempted a pilgrimage along the Ulysses route (I say “attempted” because their mission had to be aborted owing to a somewhat impressive intake of alcohol!). Since then in Dublin and all around the world, Bloomsday (the name taken from one of the main characters, Leopold Bloom) has been observed.
Now, as I say, this year, the 16th June falls on a Saturday, and aren’t Saturdays a perfect day for a readathon…? What we thought was this: how about this year, some of us have a readathon / readalong of Ulysses
Sounds too intimidating? Hear me out:
As I’ve said, Ulysses
is based around the events of a single day, 16th June 1914. It is broken down thus:
- Part I - 8am
- Part II - 10am
- Part III - 11am
- Part IV - 8am
- Part V - 10am
- Part VI - 11am
- Part VII - 12pm
- Part VIII - 1pm
- Part IX - 2pm
- Part X - 3pm
- Part XI - 4pm
- Part XII - 5pm
- Part XIII - 8pm
- Part XIV - 10pm
- Part XV - 12am
- Part XVI - 1am
- Part XVII - 2am
- Part XVII - Monologue
Ulysses, my edition at least, is 933 pages, and I believe Allie’s is 730 pages. I’ve seen readathons where people have read more than 1000 pages. This is possible.
Here are the options we propose:
- For the hardcore: Start at 8am, read the lot. See if it’s possible to stick to the time scale (I don’t know if it is, when I first read it I was unaware of the breakdown).
- For those wanting to dabble: Start at 8am with the hardcore and see how far you wish to go. Stop whenever you want. And, if you like, when you’ve read the parts you wish to, write a post at the end of it and let us know how you got on (only if you want to).
- For those who think this is insane, or are not read for Ulysses, read anything by or about James Joyce.
This does not have to be a 24 hour readathon / readalong. If you just want to go for the first part then write a post, that would be a great way of observing Bloomsday!
But, if you decide to be hardcore: you may wonder, what will you get out of it? Because it has to be said - reading Ulysses in a single day is a big ask, and I don’t know that anyone would be able to understand and appreciate it reading it in this manner. However, I would say this: James Joyce is one tricky writer. He demands re-reads. Chances are, one read will never be enough. Reading it in this way, powering through it, will allow you to familiarise yourself with the novel. I’ve seen a lot of people say it is intimidating, and yes it is, but after this, no matter what level you pick, it will become less of a mystery. It will not be a stranger, and poweing through it, you will take some things from it and you can be proud of that, and the others you will have to let go for now. This read is about working through it, letting it wash over you, not sitting with a pencil and a notepad trying to figure out what this bit meant, or this, or this. This may well be a great way to read it for the first time.
So what do you think? Like to join me and Allie for the Bloomsday readalong? If there’s enough interest, I’ll organise an official sign up page and work this out a little more. I hope at least some of you are as excited as we are! No matter what level you sign up for, I think this will be a great way to enjoy Bloomsday!
New post: Reading Finnegans Wake, by James Joyce.
I read the words, and that’s a start. I read them out loud in my best Irish accent, and there is one thing I can tell you with certainty: if you want to get into it, do that. Really. And I am in: I did that this weekend, too. I got into it. I don’t know how to advice reading it for the first time, but I can tell you that I managed it through a burst of bloody minded determination. I battled my way in, I launched myself in by sheer force, a brutal thirty six hours or so of grim fighting. I have entered into the circle, yes, I did break into it. But, actually, that is all I have done. And I feel like a criminal. I ought not to be here, I didn’t sit each day, reading a page and thinking about it, jotting down notes. I am the pretender, I conned my way into this circle, and I don’t belong here. I didn’t earn my way in, and I don’t know how to advise anyone to earn there way in. I got in through violence. No gentle reads, I staked each and every page to conquer it, but it back-fired and I have been caught.[more